Sarah Crossan. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-68119-366-3
It’s been 10 years since 17-year old Joe has seen his older brother, Ed, who is on death row for murder. After Ed’s execution date is set, Joe travels to Wakeling, Tex., to be near him in his final weeks. As his brother vehemently denies his guilt and hopes for a stay of execution, Joe, lonely in an unfamiliar place, reflects on their difficult childhood; the good-hearted, protective Ed of his memories; and the shadowed, convicted murderer he sees daily. Crossan (One) masterfully portrays Joe’s intense feelings of confusion, anger, and abandonment through conversational, fluid free verse, with thoughtful rhythm and line breaks. Joe—and even Ed—are sympathetic characters, and readers may shudder at memories of their mother’s neglect and the guilt-by-association Joe experiences as a relative of a convicted felon and death-row inmate. New relationships with Wakeling locals, all of whom have an attachment to the prison, allow Joe a retreat from the heaviness of his thoughts and room to recognize important truths: “We aren’t the worst things we did / or the worst things that happen to us. / We’re other stuff too.” Ages 14¬up. Agent: Julia Churchill, A.M. Heath. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2018
Release date: 05/08/2018
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-1-68119-367-0
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-5476-0130-1
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